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      04.02.2010 22:07
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      Some see them as boring but I love watching mine roam around and climb on stuff

      Tortoises can make great pets as long as you research how to care for them before you buy. Pet shop owners often dont know whats best or just want to make money. Make sure you have a vet nearby who deals with reptiles.
      First of all, you need somewhere for them to live. Do NOT waste your money on a vivarium. They are not necessary, are often way too small and are actually bad for the tortoise. Instead, make a tortoise table out of wood, which is basically a box with an open top. Very simple to make but if you dont want to you can buy one online, which is still cheaper than a vivarium, or ask someone you know to make you one and pay them for it. Inside here, you should place things liek rocks for them to climb on, plant pots turned sideways etc. Use your imagination or look online at set ups. You need to line the table with either topsoil or topsoil and sand. Topsoil is great although it dries out very quickly. Putting a mixture of 70 percent topsoil and 30 percent sand can help wiht this although its really what works for you. This should be changed every six weeks or so but be sprayed every day and poop etc be removed.

      You will need to provide a very shallow water dish. And every day they should be fed weeds like in the garden although make sure they havent been sprayed with pesticides. Lettuce is ok, although it doesnt have much nutritional value and weeds are much better and free! You will need to get a UV light which needs replacing every 6 months and a heat bulb for them to bask under. You can get combined ones which are more expensive but last longer. There should be a temperature gradient in the enclosure (another reason why open top enclosures are better - its hard to do this in a vivarium) The cold part should just be room temperature, around 20 or early 20s. The hot part should be around 30-33. Dont worry, as long as you have this gradient they are clever and will position themselves in a place along that at the temperature they want. Do not use heat mats or heat rocks as these can burn your tortoise. Also, be careful there is nothing near the basking light where the tortoise can fall and topple over. They cant right themselves and if it happens in the "cold" part, it is OK as once you see them you cna turn them over, but they may get baked being stuck under their basking light. Your tortoise will neeed bathing in lukewarm water every day for 10-15 minutes. WARNING!!!: Tortoise CAN NOT SWIM. They should be bathed in very shallow water that only just reaches their shell. Their heads should NOT be covered. You have been warned. They can not breathe underwater liek turtles and will drown if you do this.

      Do NOT let your dog near your tortoise. Even very calm, non violent dogs will soon associate your tortoise as a bone that moves around slowly. One that gets attention from you nonetheless. It is not the dogs fault, they do not understand, please keep the dog away from the enclosure. If you do have pets you may want to cover the enclosure with chicken wire but try and put them ina different room than the other animals and keep the door closed.

      In the summer an outdoor enclosure is great as they love being able to wander around and natural sunlight is much better for them., Just make sure it is very secure.

      In the winter they can be hibernated but only do this if you know what you are doing as it can go wrong if you dont. If they arent the right weight for their age or are unhealthy then dont bother. Make sure you do lots of research on how to do this.

      Tortoises are great animals if looked after properly. If you find yourself reading this and thinking it is too much hassle then that isnt going to change. If you love tortoises it is rewarding to keep one, however, if it is an impulse buy the novelty will soon wear off. They arent really very social pets, they arent like dogs you can play with, and although I enjoy watching mine, you will probably find yourself thinking they dont do much. Although feeding them etc is cheap, things like vets bills or buying bulbs and a lamp holder can work out expensive. Please think before you buy. Also, make sure you find out about the species of tortoise you are getting and read species specific care sheets.
      One last thought, your tortoise if cared for proeprly will likely outlive you. Make sure you have an idea of what if going to happen to it when you arent here anymore!

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        11.08.2009 13:30
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        A great pet, which is really unique and has a great personality

        I have had a Tortoise for around 7 years now and he's turned out to be a great pet with much character. You can get many different tortoises from all over the world but I have a Hermans tortoise, which is from a desert habitat. I bought him when he was young and very small for over £100 as they aren't cheap. You need licensing too and mine was micro-chipped as well.

        We used to think he had an obsession with white socks as he always bit my foot, but it turned out it's because I only ever wore white socks. I would sit by the desk and when he's out on the floor, he would get close to me to sniff them, then when I accidentally hit him with my feet, he uses it as an excuse to bite me.

        This has escalated into biting me all the time no matter what. He has an obsession with feet and biting. He bites everything too, such as your finger when you put it near his mouth. If I leave him in a room with slippers on the floor, he attacks them, poos all over them and bites them. I'm not quite sure what his problem is, but I am considering sending him to anger management classes hehe.

        Besdies this, he's a great pet. They are relatively easy to look after as they are vegetarians so only eat fruit and vegetables. You don't have to go out and buy them live insects like you do for other reptiles. Some things he can't eat though, such as certain lettuce varieties and other things are bad for him. Cucumber is an example of something totally pointless - it's like eating cardboard for them as it has no nutrients. A good diet consists of things like cabbage, carrot, dandelions, watercress, orange, apple and some other fruits. I mostly give him fruits and leaves every now and then but also give him a balanced diet of dry food produced by T-Rex, which is nutritional.

        My tortoise has a great appetite so will eat anything. He has even eaten bread in the past, but I'd be careful and obviously don't feed them meat as they can't digest it. As for shelter, mine lives in a glass tank with some woodchips as the turf. He has a few things such as rocks and other decorations as well as water and feeding bowls. They are not great drinkers and will only do so every now and then. They should be let out for exercise and most people keep tortoises outside, but beware that they can dig and escape! We bought a rabbit hutch for my tortoise, that can be placed on solid ground so it's safe.

        Most tortoises hibernate during the winter months, however the Hermans one doesn't. He is out and about all year round so you get to see him all the time. He's a fantastic pet and has a good personality apart from his biting issue. He's quite clever too and likes to chase you around trying to bite your feet. I'd recommend a tortoise as a pet as they are easy to look after, very unique and have a great character!

        Thanks for reading,

        Dan ©

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          18.06.2009 14:10
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          A lovely little animal! ;-D

          I have had two tortoises in my time, both named Sammy...!

          The first was a Hermann Tortoise, he was only a baby when we bought him for my little brother for his birthday one year, and he required a licence, and needed a vivarium, with a heat mat, light, and special substrates to live on. But was so easy to care for once everything was bought for him. He cost around £300 with a vivarium (with light), a heatmat costs around £5 at most, and the substrate costs about £1 per kg from good pet shops. Once you have all of this, they pretty much just need simple food and water each day. You can buy pellets for tortoises, which cost around £8 for a kg, this lasts a long time though as they only have a tiny amount a day when they're babies, but Sammy #1 just wouldn't eat it, he was completely uninterested in it and it was just left. He much prefered fresh fruit and veg!!!

          Sadly, one day, when we moved to Lancaster, little Sammy was out in the front garden which he loved, the static caravan park we lived on was perfectly safe, and right out in the middle of the country, the little blighter couldn't get out of his walled part of the garden, and so he would go out during the sunny days to play in the sun and get some proper heat rather than from an artificial light. But, one day, a BT man was walking past, and obviously found him attractive...or sellable....and snatched him :( We have no proof it was him...but there are no birds in that area who can pick up something as heavy as he was (only robbins etc), and there were no other people on the site as it was during the week, and no other animals were round to get him...only this BT man. :( It was a very sad day, and I was very upset. But, a few months later I thought it was time to move on and get a new Sammy.

          Sammy #2 was a different tortoise, called a Horsefield, they're much easier to look after as they are much more hardy, and so we decided he could live ouside the whole summer (which is what many people do with Horsefield as they can live in very hot and very cold temperatures) and move indoors during the colder months of around September to March. So he doesn't need the expensive vivarium, mats or heat lights. Just a little house, food bowl and water bowl. Other than that feeding is much the same. Sammy #2 cost around £220 from a pet shop in Anchorsholme, Lancs.

          When thinking about buying a tortoise, the first thing to think about is the type of tortoise you want...they range from very easy care of a Horsefield, up to very hard to care for due to temps etc needed to be taken 3 times a day of the tank etc and special foods. I recommend a Horsefield or Hermans if you are wanting a tortoise for the first time, and if you have children as they are very easy to care for, and they can live outside, and enjoy been around people. They also don't grow too big too fast, we have had Sammy #2 for 3 years now and she has only grown by a centimetre or so.

          But ultimately it depends on your own personal circumstances as to which tortoise is best for you, and so I would definitely say that you are best researching each breed in depth so you know what you want and know what to expect when you get him home.

          LIFESPAN:
          Most tortoises live to be between 50 and over 100 years old, many outliving us ourselves, this is due to their slow heart beat. And as long as they're kept in a good environment with everything that they need, then there is no reason why they won't live a very long time!

          That said, sometimes toroises do get ill, this can go undetected until the last minute, so its best to know where your nearest reptile vet is so that if there is an emergency you aren't having to worry about finding one at the most crucial time, they are hard to find, and my nearest is over half an hour away, but you need to know where the closest one is, as not many vets will treat reptiles.

          HIBERNATION:
          You can stop your tortoise from hibernating if you don't wish it to (as this is around 4 months), just keep its light and heat at the same temperature all year round, and he/she will not sleep, but will probably stop eating as much and drinking as much as even though it feels its still the same temperature and same time of year, in my experience they do slow down, and sleep more, just not constantly!!

          If your tortoise lives outside, then its highly likely he or she will want to hibernate as the cold weather comes, they should be put in a box and placed in a dark cupboard where the temperature stays the same. NEVER WAKE HIM!!! If you wake up your tortoise during their hibernation, and they eat...please make sure they stay awake, and do not allow them back into hibernation...this will kill them...the food will go into their system, and as they're unconcious it rots in their stomach, I'm not so sure what exactly happens, possibly something like the stomach ruptures with the rotting food as they cannot excrete it, and so they will die. The tortoise will waken by itself when its ready, and you could start putting him back outside in the sun in his box on nice days, to tempt him into waking up as he feels the change in heat, but once he is awake don't allow him back into hibernation! :)

          DIET:

          Everyday your tortoise should be given a variety of the following:
          Romaine, green or red leaf lettuce, or endive (chicory)
          Shredded carrots
          Bananas, strawberries, mango or peaches. (Fruit should be given sparcely)

          A few times a week they should be given:
          Tomatoes, cut in small pieces
          Cucumber cut into small pieces
          Green beans, cut in small pieces
          Hibiscus leaves and flowers
          Petunia leaves and flowers

          Also it is recommended you buy vitamin drops or powder for their food, to ensure they're getting everything they need, I would say to try a few pellets every other day, but mine would never touch them, you can buy smaller bags/boxes of it so try them before buying a big bag!

          NEVER FEED THEM:
          There are alot of things that are poisonous to tortoises and which shouldn't be given to them, I would say don't give them ANYTHING from your garden, unless its home grown fruit and veg named above, don't feed them flowers without making sure they can have that particular kind first! Dandilion flowers and leaves are fine. But many flowers are poisonous to him!
          CHERRY
          HOLLY
          APPLE SEEDS
          APRICOT SEEDSMISTLETOE (BERRIES ARE FATAL)
          ROSEMARY
          MUSHROOMS (WILD)
          PEAR SEEDS
          ACORNS
          DAFFODIL (BULBS MAY BE FATAL)
          POTATO
          POPPY
          RHUBARB
          SAGE

          So be careful what your growing where he lives!! :) Most tortoises are pretty clever though and won't eat through anything that will harm them! :)

          All in all, tortoises are lovely little pets, they are very funny to watch and when they eat...they EAT!!!! Lol, they are loving little things, and although not cure and cuddly, they are a lovely little pet!

          They don't bite, although sometimes they will mistake you for food and will nip you, but it doesn't really hurt, just like a pecking by a duck or chicken as they have no teeth just a beak! :-D

          So thats what I have to say about tortoises :-)

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            11.06.2009 16:11
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            A great introduction to pet ownership.

            I have had my tortoise, Fritz, for 30 years now. He is a fascinating animal and, strange as it may seem, is a great pet. As a cold blooded animal, the hotter the weather the more energetic he is. On a hot day he moves very quickly and can cover my 60 foot garden in 5 minutes. You should bear this in mind and make sure that your garden is secure.

            His diet consists of dandelions, lettuce, cabbage, the odd tomato and wet bread. Be careful if you give them something by hand because their mouths are beak like and they can give you quite a nip if your finger gets in the way. Fritz has the run of the garden in summer but I also have a little hutch with some straw in it which I put him in at night. Sometimes, however, I can't find him and it's usually because he has buried himself partially in the ground in some bushes somewhere.

            When I was a child I used to polish his shell with baby oil and it would gleam beautifully, but I don't bother now. As a male he also gets a bit frisky in the summer so I've got a brick which he flirts with. I would recommend you keep them away from steps because he attempts to climb them and they can easily fall over either damaging their shells or on to their backs where they find it hard to get back up. Also be careful introducing a tortoise to a dog. One of my mum's previous dogs used to pick him up in her mouth and drop him. My current dog like to cock his leg on him.

            Fritz normally hibernates from around late October to early March. He goes in a cardboard box in the shed so the frost doesn't get to him but it's not so warm he thinks its time to wake up. Try to make sure that they have been well fed and watered in the days before hibernation as they need to have good body weight for the long sleep.

            If you're looking for a low maintenance pet who provides some fascintation then a tortoise is the way to go!

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              21.04.2009 18:33
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              love them!

              You may think this sounds familiar as I believe the person who last wrote a review on this subject is my other half! About 2 years about my boyfriend was always going on about me getting him a tortoise which I never wanted to, so when he had enough money he got one which was last year. He decided to name him Jim...I don't know why! He was a little un pre-paired at first and made a box which wasn't exactly big but it was only going to be temporary. He bought sawdust with he bedded the box with which didn't last long as he found out this irritates the tortoises. He then put top soil down and made a nice place full of rocks and objects such as plants and plant pots (not forgetting a UV and heat lamp). A few months later he was moving home and had to move the tortoise but unfortunately the box broke so he lived in a shoe box while Buddy was looking for a new home; or course we constantly took him out for a wander. Sadly though Buddy's dog somehow got into his room and attacked the tortoise which had to be put down which was very sad as I loved him because he used to sleep on me!

              Anyway...a few months later I decided to get him another one, and a tortoise run with a few bits and pieces. This one is called Beanz (we call him a 'he' though you can't find out till they are a bit older) and he is about 2 years old and the size of my palm. I got him from www.carlisletortoises.co.uk which was £120 including delivery. I got the run from Argos which was £60 and is a descend size, though it doesn't need to be this big. It is about a 4ft by 4ft square with a dark area and mesh over the top...keep him safe from the dog!

              These are a great pet. They do require attention but not so much that you'll kill them by doing the smallest thing wrong. They can do for days without eating and drinking which you may find worrying like I do but its just what they do. Also throughout the winter they tend to stay tucked up and asleep more to stay warm.

              What do they eat?

              You have to make sure you review this carefully as some people thing they can eat iceberg lettuce but they actually can't. Little gems is okay for them though, Dandelion weeds are good for them and a safe bet! But not the yellow part. They also like pansies. The can also eat soft fruits, though should only be given as a treat as they may cause some runny poo's and a bad stomach!


              Living enclosure

              Like I said before we have a large one that is 4ft by 4ft. At the moment we have top soil and bark in here which he seems to like; you can also just play sand. We have many decoration as they like to play and climb on things. We have large and small rocks, 2 dishes ( one for water and one for food), tunnels, plants; real ones and fake ones which they try and eat but realise they aren't real, and even leaves. Large rocks help to file down there nails as you do have to cut them. We have 2 lamps, a spot lamp and a UV lamp, both pointing round about the same area which is where our tortoise likes it most. The UV lamp provides the shell with vitamin D3 to keep it healthy.

              Do they hibernate?

              Yes they do, they do this at an age of 4/5. I haven't yet done this so I cannot comment on it. I do know you have to keep an eye on them though just in case they die from lack of food so make sure they are well fed through summer.

              How do I wash them?

              Ah I'm glad you asked :P Your meant to give them a bath almost everyday, though sometimes we miss one out as we arent home. fill our sink with a smallish amouth of warm water, enough to cover its feet but not its head! Use your hand to scoop water over its back and head etc. They will use there arms to wipe there eyes which is a bit of extra help! We use an old toothbrush to keep his shell clean; don't scrub to hard but enough to get muck off. when you take them out we put him onto a cowl or toilet paper and rub him with a cloth. Make sure you dry the soft skin where it folds near his legs as it may cause sores if not.


              All in all I think horsefield tortoises are great pets, they really have there own personalities which you will know if you have one! they shouldn't bite you if you treat them well unless they're hungry and you hold your finger out for them :P

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                18.02.2009 22:27
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                5/5

                My Tortoise :

                Ive currently had 2 tortoises in the past 2 years, my first one got attacked by a dog and didnt survive, my other tortoise beanz is a male and is about 2-3 years old. They are very easy creatures to look after if you do it properly but alot of people under estimate the amount of work you have to put in to look after in both living and healthy side. Beanz cost £100 + £20 delivery by special animal courier.

                Diet :

                Their diet is very specific, only soft fruits can be eaten, most weeds are acceptable but alot can be poisonous and without researching first can be deadly for example iceberg lettuce which alot of people i have spoke to assume they would it is not good for them at all but dandelion leaves are the best and safest to feed them. There a few plants that can also be consumed but only certain areas the most common plant to feed is the pansie.

                Living Accomidation :

                My first enclosure was a custom built box which was about 1 x 2 foot which looking back i now realise was very small and my latest one was a present and is about 120x100x60 cm. Its a very large enclosure and provides enough room for a baby tortoise until hes about 10 i would say.
                I have to lights, one is a spot lamp pointed directly down onto a piece of slate for extra heat and the other is a 27W UV bulb which provides vitamin D3 and is good for their shell.

                Decorations.

                For the main substrate i use cracker grit/bark to give it an outside feel but make sure it is kept moist as dry substrate can cause watery eyes. I have various amount of fake plants [fish type] placed around which beanz enjoys, a good size water bowl and 4 bits of flat slate [1 is used for feeding].

                Hibernation :

                As i have not put mine into hibernation this year i cant quote on what i did or what i would recommend to do but i do know that their weight should be checked every other day before hibernation and make sure u get them in a comfortable place.

                I hope you found this useful if you are thinking about getting your first tortoise but look around the internet for more detailed info and dont rush into buying one remember get all the accessories, living quarters, plants etc first before the tortoise.

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                  13.09.2008 01:04
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                  Great pets, which are unique and really entertaining

                  Tortoises are fantastic animals, which make great pets. I have had a tortoise for a few years now and it's really entertaining and easy to look after to. There are many different breeds of tortoise, which live in different habitats. I have even heard of one that climbs trees.

                  They cost around £100+ to buy depending on the breed. Due to rules about transporting tortoises, you need to have a license for your tortoise (rather like a driving license)! They live in tanks, which you can usually buy in the shop you get the tortoise from. They will need a USB light to help their body work along with a heat lamp (especially when it's cold) to stimulate warm conditions.

                  Many tortoises hibernate in winter, so you need to know how to do this. However, there are some that don't hibernate. They have a shell on their back (well.. it is their back) to protect them. They also like to tuck their head and feet in their shell to get comfy or when they are afraid they are in danger.

                  They are really easily to look after and mine is easily pleased. They are herbivores so will only eat leaves, fruit and vegetables. Some examples of this are: Dandelions, Apple, Orange, Peach, Cauliflower, Cabbage, Romaine Lettuce. They are not allowed Iceberg lettuce as well as other varieties as it's poisonous for them. They need their tanks cleaning out to put in new turf (sand or small bark for tortoises) and their feces need removing constantly to keep it clean.

                  Thanks for reading

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                    01.03.2008 20:56
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                    a great pet

                    The importation of tortoises began a very long time ago, over 120 years ago.

                    It is estimated that around 100,000 tortoises are imported to the uk every year, these are not the most popular pet and ranging from £100 to over £1000 each i dont think they will ever be as popular as a hamster so where are all these tortoises going, there must be a lot of deaths.

                    Tortoises are land dwelling animal that lay eggs, can live for hundreds of years and eat anything green.

                    Hermans tortoises are the easiest to keep, they only eat veg and there favorites are dandilions, leafy greens and grass.
                    They grow to less than 10 inches which is quite small compared with other breeds.

                    We keep our hermans on sand substrate as they would normally come from very dry arid places and i have bermuda grass in the tank to eat and hide in.

                    Tortoises need a basking spot in there tanks of at least 90'c at one end and a cooler side of 78'c. They need a strong uv light which should be on for no less than 12 hours a day i prefer a d3 bulb for this not a strip light as the uv rays travel a lot further.

                    A lot of reptile owners dont know that a uv tube only emmits uv for 8 inches and needs to be changed every 6 months. A d3 will emmit uv over 4 foot and will do this untill the bulb eventually burns out.

                    You will need a shalow water bowl as tortoises are not very good at climbing and you will need to give added calcium by powdering there food with a supliment.

                    You will also need to bath your tortoise at least once a week and clean there shell with a soft nail brush to prevent infections.

                    Tortoises are easy to care for if you have the right set up which will cost you anything from £200 upwards, they are great pets, easy to look after, very friendly and fun to watch.

                    Tortoises are supposed to be slow but if mine see something they want they get a right stomp on.

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                      17.02.2008 13:05
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                      These are fantastic pets that will provide a lifetime of entertainment

                      I have had a tortoise for around 6 years now, and he himself is only 7 years old. Considering he can live over 120 years, he is still a baby! Earlier, I actually had to rescue him because he was on his back and struggling to get on his feet again, which can be very dangerous! He is a lovely pet and very entertaining. He is quite clever too, and for anyone who thinks tortoises are slow, think again! My tortoise is like Speedy Gonzales! Most tortoises will need you to buy a License in order to own them as a pet in the UK.

                      ~~~
                      Cost
                      ~~~

                      My tortoise cost me £150 alone, and then I had to buy a tank and all the equipment for him. The tank itself cost me £90 for a big one that he could grow into. The rest of the equipment such as lights, turf and feeding/watering bowls didn't cost more than £40. This gives a grand total of £280, which isn't bad for such a wonderful pet!

                      ~~~~~~~
                      Equipment
                      ~~~~~~~

                      A tortoise can live anywhere from the desert to a forest, but they are all land animals. They require a certain environment with a specific temperature; therefore need certain equipment like any other reptile. Here is a list below with a description of each piece of equipment:

                      * Sand/Bark - This is for the tortoises turf and you should buy enough for the tank so that the tortoise can dig under to fit most of its body under the surface.

                      * Heat Lamp - This can be anything from 60W to 100W but should be used to keep the temperature below 90-95 degrees Fahrenheit. This provides a basking area that is necessary for your tortoise.

                      * UVB Light - This is a long light that is needed on during daytime to allow your tortoise's digestive system to function properly.

                      * Heat Mat - This is optional and not necessary if you have the heat lamp, but it should be placed to one side of the tank to give your tortoise a warm part to rest on.

                      * Food Bowl - This can be made of anything really, but pet shops make special bowls for reptiles. It should be very wide and shallow so that the tortoise can walk in it as they like to do!

                      * Water Bowl - This should be large and shallow so that the tortoise can sit in it when hot and also easily drink from it. Remember, tortoises aren't swimmers!

                      * Rocks - There should be several FLAT rocks scattered around the tank for climbing and exercise, which my tortoise always seems to use.

                      * Props - Other things can be found such as trees, logs and objects to make the tank look nicer. Be careful with what you buy, making sure you get nothing dangerous that the tortoise can walk up and fall off upside down. The tree was a pretty good purchase as my tortoise likes to rest under it and it provides him with some shelter.

                      - All of this can be purchased at a reptile shop or any good pet shop that stocks reptile products. If anywhere sells tortoises, then they should definitely have some, if not all of this equipment.

                      ~~~~~
                      Feeding
                      ~~~~~

                      Tortoises should always have fresh food in their feeding bowls that is edible. My tortoise seems to eat quite a lot for such a small thing. You can stick a cabbage leaf in there, and it will be gone within minutes! They are herbivores, and shouldn't be fed meat or fish at any time as it is very bad for them and they cannot digest it properly at all. Feeding these things would definitely lead to death very shortly. A tortoise's diet should consist mainly of green leaves and vegetables, but they are allowed other things too. NOTE: Calcium Carbonate must be sprinkled on every meal to provide a good diet. This helps them with maintaining a strong and healthy shell and bones that can grow. Below are some types of food that they should eat under different categories:

                      Primary Choices
                      **************
                      Dandelion flowers/leaves, Clover, Sow thistle, Watercress, Groundsel, Cabbage

                      Secondary Choices
                      ****************
                      Romaine Lettuce, Kale, Cauliflower, Broccoli, Carrots, Mixed green leaves from supermarket, Rocket

                      Occasional Treats
                      ***************
                      Apple, Pear, Cucumber, Tomato, Melon

                      NEVER Feed:
                      ***********
                      Dairy Produce, Chocolate, Cereals, Peas & Beans, Iceberg Lettuce, Flat Lettuce

                      SHOULD NOT Feed:
                      ****************
                      Meat, Fish, Soft fruit, Spinach, Bananas

                      Iceberg and Flat lettuce are actually poisons tortoises just like chocolate poisons dogs. Soft fruit is bad for their system as well as banana and spinach. They can not properly digest meat and fish, so never give this to them. Although it may seem OK, Peas & Beans are a definite NO for tortoises.

                      ~~~~
                      Water
                      ~~~~

                      The tortoise should always have water present in their water bowl. There should be enough for them to sit in, but it shouldn't be deep at all because they aren't swimmers and cannot swim at all. Water should be as clean as possible, although this can be hard to maintain with tortoises wrecking the tank all the time like mine does! Water should be washed out and given freshly on a regular basis.

                      ~~~~~~~~
                      Appearance
                      ~~~~~~~~

                      Just like turtles, tortoises have shells as protection from predators in the wild. However, you cannot mistake a tortoise for a turtle as turtles seem to have much flatter shells, whereas tortoises are rounder and more humped. Tortoises also have very different feet and legs from turtles. Turtles will have flatter feet to paddle, whereas tortoises have big feet with claws on the end for digging. Tortoises have large back feet, very similar to the look of elephant's feet. There head is quite small in comparison to their body with an eye either side and a mouth that curves round their head. Mine has a nose with two tiny nostrils, and when you put your face near it, you can feel him breathing out.

                      Tortoises also have small tails between their back legs. My tortoise has a pointy tail, but it never usually sticks out as he has the ability to tuck it under his bum. Underneath, you can tell apart the males from females by looking at their tails. The males will have longer tails with a longer spur at the end. The females have shorter tails with a small spur at the end. His shell on top has a repeating pattern of small shapes like squares, which are brown with a yellow-beige colour in the middle. His shell also shows white in between the squares, which is a sign of growth and a healthy diet. Overall, they look very cute and defendable with the ability to tuck all their legs and head inside their shell.

                      ~~~~~~
                      Strength
                      ~~~~~~

                      My tortoise is very strong and has done some remarkable things over his time. Over time, he has managed to push a very large and heavy rock a stunning distance in his tank. He has also managed to climb over some very steep objects when out and about with me watching keep for his safety. He can run at such incredible speeds, you wouldn't think he's a tortoise! He comes in at a size of under 20x10cm, but is extremely fast! When he is out for exercise in a room, he has run at remarkable speeds across the room in no time. His back legs are huge and very strong and powerful with the look of elephant's legs. They also have the ability to dig, so make sure you keep an eye on them if you have put them in a cage in the garden. They can dig under earth and grass quite easily but it may take them some time. They do this with the help of their strong legs and claws.

                      ~~~~~
                      Nature
                      ~~~~~

                      My tortoise will rest most of the day and sleep. Some of the time he will rest in his basking area under the heat lamp, and he may sit in his water bowl at other times if he is too hot. If he is really hot, then he will rampage around his tank banging on the glass wrecking havoc as he goes. This is the rather annoying way that he asks me to let him out. I let him out for exercise every day if I can, and he can either run around a room indoors or go in the garden but I must stay with him and watch where he goes. He knows what he can eat, and may pick out the small clover leaves growing in between the grass, making him a very good weed cleaner! They will rest or sleep most of the time and they have a very low metabolism rate, meaning they can live for many years! The longest living tortoise lived up to the age of 188.

                      ~~~~~~~~
                      Hibernation
                      ~~~~~~~~

                      My particular tortoise doesn't hibernate, but most will do and you need to prepare a box with good conditions. A cardboard box can be used and you will fill it with some kind of insulation such as polystyrene. A necessary precaution is to use a thermometer to watch the temperature as it cannot get too warm or too cold. You simply leave the tortoise in the box for duration of 10-12 days to a few months depending on the kind of tortoise. They will need hibernating in the winter, and conditions in the wild should be copied if possible. After hibernation, the tortoise should be kept a close eye on for any anomalies. Make sure that they aren't dehydrated and get them back into a good diet.

                      ~~~~~~~~~
                      Entertainment
                      ~~~~~~~~~

                      Tortoises are lovely pets and much-loved by many people. Not only are they great company, but mine has provided me with excellent and hilarious entertainment over the years. Below are a few examples:

                      * Once, my dog kept walking up to my tortoise and sticking his head right in the tortoise's. My tortoise wouldn't take it anymore, so the next time the dog stuck his head down there, my tortoise managed to bite his nose and grab on! As my dog lifted his head up in shock, the tortoise was holding on for his dear life really tightly, suspended in mid-air! It was hilarious to watch! After 10 seconds, he let go and landed on the ground with a bump, but was ok. I think the dog was more injured with a sore nose, as the tortoise has a kind of beak, which is very strong!

                      * My tortoise seemed to have this obsession with my feet at one stage. Whenever on the computer and he was out and about in my room for exercise, he always woke up and walked over towards my feet. When he got close, he seemed to play some kind of game by making sure my foot accidentally hit him! He then used this as an excuse to start painfully biting my feet with his strong beak! I wondered if it was a game after a while, or whether he just did it with my white socks. However, he seemed to do it with whatever I had on my feet, because white socks could of meant he wanted calcium but he was having enough already. He used to chase my feet around the room, and then I played games with him by dragging a sock along the floor and he would chase it until he got hold of it! Then he would bite it hard and start trying to eat it - Very weird but funny at the time.

                      * I once walked into my room to find my tortoise standing, facing the wall and head-butting it! It was absolutely hilarious and I wondered what the hell he was doing. It's not like the wall could possible anger a tortoise, but it must of somehow. He would put his weight on his back legs and thrust forward to hit the wall with his shell. They normally do this when two males are together or even a male and female. This reminds me of when I was in a museum in Palm Springs, California, and there were two tortoises in a big glass tank that kept head-butting each other!

                      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                      Stuff To Watch Out For
                      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                      * A tortoise cannot survive very long on their back if they manage to fall upside down from climbing something. If you ever see the tortoise on its back, you must return it to an upright position immediately and make sure its ok. To prevent this, have the flattest objects possible in the tank and keep a close eye on it anywhere else. They aren't stupid and will try not to fall over, but considering they have a hard flat shell underneath, it is hard for them to have much grip on objects.

                      * If the tortoise has a runny nose all the time, then this could be due to respiratory disease, so consult a vet immediately.

                      * Constipation can be common and obvious. Soak the tortoise in a bath of warm water for around 30 minutes with a shallow water level covering their bum.

                      * Diarrhoea should be sorted out immediately. This can be done by giving your tortoise something high in fibre such as rabbit droppings, and change their diet to less hydrating foods. Too much fruit such as banana and kiwi may cause this too.

                      * Vomiting is very serious and can be signs of worm infestation, so consult a vet immediately.

                      * Eye infections can be seen by swelling of the eye lids. Swellings around the ears and other parts of the body aren't normal and you should take necessary action and have your tortoise consulted by a professional.

                      ~~~~~~~
                      Conclusion
                      ~~~~~~~

                      I love my tortoise to bits, and I am sure he will outlive me and be passed on to my children and possibly grandchildren! He is a fantastic pet and very entertaining and enjoyable to look after. He is quite easy to look after, so could be bought as a first pet. He requires fresh food all the time, but it is very cheap and easy to make compared to other reptiles, which may require live insects that are much more expensive to keep feeding them. They are excellent pets, and considering their lifetime, they aren't a waste of money to buy, and will provide much fun and memories to last.

                      ~~~~~~~~~
                      Funny Picture
                      ~~~~~~~~~

                      Sorry for my immatureness but I found this picture funny enough to include:

                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Tortoise_mating.jpg

                      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                      Thanks for reading,

                      - Recon -

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                        18.09.2007 14:16

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                        For better health advice please read this review ..get correct advice from me..!

                        Unfortunatly alot of your advice is flawed, They should not be eating shop bought greens! lettuce is not poisonous to them..it just has no nutritional value.
                        A tank is for goldfish not for a tortoise.Tortoise require indoor and outdoor enclosures ....open topped tortoise tables are best.
                        Certain tortoises require documentation through defra usually called a cert 10....others do not.
                        Unfortunatly pet shops do now sell them but they are all imports from other countries. For a healthy tortoise a breeder is always best....Hermanns are the best for begginers......always check the cert 10 before purchasing to find country of origin....if it says SLOVENIA stay well clear!!
                        These torts are usually infested with worms and other parasites...and 70% die within the first 5 years!!
                        Never have a tortoise Transported to you through the internet , they use over night parcel services ...and this is illegal!!!
                        Make sure you get correct information before buying a tortoise there is a lot of dodgy information out there!!
                        For help with your tortoise pleqase Join this tortoise group called TORTOISE-HEALTH on yahoo...friendly members all happy to help give the best care and advice...best of all its free!!
                        http://groups.yahoo.com/group/TORTOISE-HEALTH/
                        Please join it could be ther difference between your tortoise surviving and thriving!!!!

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                        13.11.2005 19:01
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                        Much of this care information is incorrect and misleading!

                        Much of this information is incorrect or out-of-date. Tortoises (esp Hermanns) cannot cope with humidity and need an open enclosure (tortoise table) not a vivarium. they shuold only be fed fruit occasionally or it can give them gut problems. They should be allowed to be outside as often as possible whenever it is warm enough. If you are thinking of getting a tortoise you need to know how much work it is - you will be responsible for a member of an endangered species! Check out The Tortoise Trust website for the best info.

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                          03.05.2004 20:45
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                          Me and my family love reptiles!! I know a lot of information about them aswell! In total in my family we have all these pets: 1 heramans tortoise, 3 bearded dragons, 1 iguana, 1 water dragon, 1 blue tounged skink, and our dog (who we all look after). Of these pets i own the hermans tortoise and the blue tounged skink. I chose my tortoise (Frank) because he had a very nice pattern on his sheel, compared to all the other tortoises at the shop. He is a Hermans tortoise and would live in the desert. He is about 4 years old now and i have had him for over 3 years. Whoever thinks tortoises are slow, think again. Well mabye its just my toroise but they are extremely fast, when you think that they are carrying there house on their back! Facts ***** Tortoises live for a long time because they use hardly any energy, unlike us human beings. The average life span for a Hermans tortoise is about 140 years old! My tortoise has a small tank at the moment but they can grow to the size of asize 4 football (obviously not round!!). My tortoise lives in a 2 by 4 foot veveriam. Tortoises grow very slowly so there is no need to buy them a new tank every few months! What you would need if to buy one ****************************** If you were to buy a tortoise you would need certain things. You would need a tank (2 by 4 foot would be fine), a heat lamp because they are desert animals and need to be warm, a UBV light to give them light when in their tank and to help them to digest their food properly, some kind of shelter e.g a small plastic tree or bit of wood, food and water, and any other decorative items you might want to put in. How should it be treated? ********************* A average tortoise should always come out at least once a day to get some exercise. You may think that they do not need that much exercise but like all animals they need to come out instead of being in a hot stuffy tank all day! A tortoise sho
                          uld be fed every day so you would need to have the time to do this. The food rots and this attracts fly's which can increase popularity if the food keeps on rotting! I have experienced this and it is not nice having tens of fly's in your tank. The fly's lay there eggs on the rotting food, this is how they increase! FOOD ***** My tortoise is no really too fussy about what it eats, but it may no be the same as any other tortoise! They are vegetarians and can eat the following things: FRESH CLOVER KALE COLLARD AND MUSTARD GREENS CLOVER DANDELION ONLY ROMAINE LETTUCE (ANY OTHER LETTUCE IS POISONESS TO THEM) MULBERRY LEAVES GRASS CLIPPINGS SELECTED WEEDS FLOWERS (HIBISCUS, NASTURTIUM) GRATED/CHOPPED CARROTS GREEN BEANS BROCCOLI (CHOPPED IF NECESSARY) RAW CORN, CUT OF THE COB TOMATOES FIGS APRICOTS ORANGES LEMONS TANGERINES PAPAYA PINEAPPLE STRAWBERRIES (SMALL AMOUNTS ONLY) MELONS i would reccomend a tortoise to anyone to have as a pet, they are small cute and great pets and do not need so much to be looked after. THANKS FOR READING MY REVIEW!! DAN :-) (weinberg2004@hotmail.com)

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                            31.01.2002 17:15
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                            Contrary to poplular belief, tortoises are not not the slowest animals around, they are actually quite fast! I have two tortoises, and in the summer, when it is hot, their shells are like solar panels, and they soak in the sunlight and speed off into the distance... Now i must admit, the distance is only the end of my garden, but they do go surprisingly fast - probably about the speed of a slow human walk, (which would make them illegal under clissoldjones' dictatorship!). Also, it is blindingly obvious that snails and slugs (also illegal under clissoldjones' dictatorship) are much slower than these cute little reptiles. Tortoises (often confused with turtles by dumb americans, and under-educated English) are portrayed as pointless pets, because of their lack of activity. Actually my two tortoises - Tommy and Oscar are extremely entertaining, and i have spent many a sunny afternoon and warm summer's evening sitting in the garden with a cold beer, watching Tommy and Oscar frolic about the garden. Also if you want a little extra excitment in both your life and your pets', you borrow a female of the species and watch the two males fight to mount the unexpecting female from behind. This provides hours of entertainment (for both) and is far better viewing than Eastenders! There is violence, (Tommy and Oscar Fighting) Romance, (a bit of hanky panky with Delila, the female) and tears, (when one of the males is rejected!). This silent reptilian soap opera is sadly over at the end of the summer, when they have to hibernate for winter, but I am looking forward to this summer when I will be out most afternoons to watch the drama unfold, (live) before my eyes... Tortoises are clean, well-behaved, easy to keep, they don't bite the postman, and they eat salad foods and any soft food left-overs. Long live tortoises!!!!

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                              11.04.2001 19:14
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                              Looking after a baby tortoise is no easy task, but this guide should help keep your baby tortoise happy and healthy. Essential Equipment: An accurate thermometer. Electronic scales, or traditional scales which are accurate to within the nearest gram. A 40 watt or 60 watt silver-backed spotlight bulb and suitable fittings (these should be available from all good DIY stores). An Outdoor Enclosure: A wooden sided pen can be constructed by simply nailing together some 6" x 1" gravel-board (also available at an good DIY store). For the first two years of life, a size of about 3' x 2' is adequate space for your tortoise, but it also depends on your garden size. Strong wire mesh must be fitted to the top of the pen to guard against predators (a baby tortoise could make a tasty snack). You can cover then pen in bad weather with some plastic sheeting but make sure to weigh it down properly with some bricks, or peg it into the ground. The pen should be placed on fairly closely mown untreated (we don't want to poison him/her just yet) lawn with dandelion, buttercup, clover, etc, growing in it. A terracotta flower pot can be cut in half to provide shade, security and shelter. Ensure that there are no hollows in the turf where the hatchling can escape under the pen. By the third year young tortoises will require something much larger and more interesting, perhaps with a rockery and plants for shade and shelter. Tortoises with a shell length of 3" or more need interesting enclosure of at least 20 square feet in which they can be left undisturbed, as like any animal, they need some variety. An Indoor Enclosure: This needs to be about the same size as the outdoor pen, slightly smaller if your space is restricted. You can construct this with lighten woods as it will not have to stand up to the weather, and it can be nailed or glued to a plywood base. A
                              n old drawer or plastic tray can be used if you have one of a suitable size. The pen must be placed out of reach of small children and other pets, and if necessary a removable wire cover can be added. Cover the base of the pen with about an inch of dust extracted wood chipping's (available from most though not all, pet shops). This provides an interesting surface area and aids muscle development, and hatchlings like to bury themselves in this at night. You can also provide a couple of half plantpots as with the outdoor pen. In midsummer tortoises can be left outside at night, but they tend to dig into the lawn. The silver-backed spotlight bulb is then suspended above one end of the pen, to form a "basking spot". There are many methods of suspending the bulb, find one that suits you and is stable and safe. Tortoise will place themselves under the light in order to increase body temperature, moving away when they reach their most comfortable temperature. Place an accurate thermometer at the surface of the wood chipping's, directly below the spotlight. A temperature of 85 to 90oF (30 to 33oC) is required. Move the spotlight up or down in order to achieve this temperature, ensure the basking spot is well away from the wall of the enclosure. Tortoises will occasionally try to climb the walls (don't we all) and can end up on their backs, and being stranded upturned below the heat source can quickly lead to death. Food And Feeding: During the summer months tortoise (even in their first few months) will obtain most of their food by grazing, provided that the turf has sufficient wild plants. Additional dandelion leaves lightly dusted with, a calcium vitamin supplement (again, from your pet shop) should be offered two or three times a week. In variable weather offer a supplementary feed in the evening in the indoor set up. Do not mollycoddle young tortoises in the summer months it is essential that they are outsid
                              e and direct or indirect sunlight is necessary for proper growth. In bad weather hatchlings should be brought in to their indoor enclosure where "wild" food can be placed, but do not be afraid to put hatchlings out in showers, they enjoy light rain. Try and put your tortoise hatchlings outside in spring and autumn to obtain sunlight, they will not necessary feed outside if the temperature is below optimum, but food can be offered in the evening in the indoor set up. During colder months, continue to feed with wild food. Dandelions can be found in sheltered areas for most of the year. It is sensible to cultivate (by seed or transplantation) your own dandelions. It is important that the food is free of pollution and contaminants, so avoid putting chemicals on your lawn if at all possible. Tortoises will eat many foods which are not good for them. Do not offer canned pet food or domestic vegetables or fruit, this includes lettuce, tomato and cucumber, this will lead to shell deformities and other problems, consider their natural habitat and feed them only with wild plants. Water: This is best offered two or three times a week only. Use a medium sized ice cream container or something similar. Place active hatchlings in sufficient water such that they can submerge their heads under it, but not so deep that they cannot lift them above the water level. If they drink they will normally urinate, defecate or pass uric acid (a white substance) in the water. Keep them in the water, under observation for several minutes, remove them after their bowel movement or when they try to escape from the container. Weight Checks: Hatchlings and young tortoises should be weighed accurately, weekly. A life long record should be kept. It is then possible to check that the tortoise is progressing healthily. As they get older, a monthly record is sufficient and keeping these records will mean that it will be p
                              ossible to check their weight in any given month with that of the previous year. Tortoises in a proper hibernation cycle will normally peak in weight in late July to mid August. Handling: Hatchling tortoises are quite pliable and almost rubbery. Handle them between the thumb and first finger, across the midrif (not the top and bottom). Do not entrust a tortoise to a child unless they have be properly trained to handle the tortoise, as they may acidently hurt it and do not leave children unsupervised with the tortoise if at all possible. Bone Development: Tortoises have to produce massive amounts of bone and soft pieces of cuttlefish should always be available to them. Wild plants, especially dandelions, have the right ratio of calcium to phosphorous to help the tortoises produce bone. Ultra violet light from the sun is essential in order to convert the calcium and phosphorous into bone, and why it is so inportant to have your tortoise outside enough. Never squeeze a tortoise to check that bone is developing, this can lead to fractures and serious consequences. I hop this guide helps with keeping your tortoise and results in some happier and healthier tortoises.

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                                22.02.2001 01:14
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                                My tortoise Mo is 7 years old and she's been with me for 4 1/2 of those years - I wouldn't change her for the world, as tortoises have more personality than any other animal I know (excluding cows because I wouldn't want one for a pet - not in the flat!) - you just have to watch them eat to fall in love with them, and of course they don't moult - big advantage! However, there are a few things which I wish I'd known BEFORE I had her and didn't have to learn the hard way ...... 1) FEEDING. Is more complex than it looks, especially when you only have one animal as many of the ideal foods aren't available in very small quantities. With torts variety is the key - they can be very fussy... Most of what we think of as salad items are of little nutritional value to torts so be prepared to go hunting for weeds, especially dandelions and clover which they love, and that's not even including vitamin and calcium supplements. 2) SPACE. You'd think they wouldn't need much but think again - a rabbit hunch (which some people used to use) is certainly not suitable as they need quite a large area. Not something you want to get wrong as If they want some more exercise, they'll let you know! Mo hits the wall with the side of her shell to tell me when she wants free range of the house! 3) SUNLIGHT. Torts are very reliant on sunlight for temperature regulation and healthy bone growth and unfortunately the UK sun really isn't up to it . UV lights and basking lamps are essential in most cases as for other reptiles. 4) SLOW? Don't underestimate torts - they don't always move slowly and you'll only ever turn your back on them once! 5) HEALTH. If anything does go wrong then specialist reptile vets are few and far between - some very good vets have made horrible mistakes - you need a vet who sees a LOT of tortoises.
                                6) PEBBLE TO BOULDER IN 60 SECONDS! They grow - not a lot, but they don't ever stop! Just as soon as you finally get the perfect set up for them...... they have an annoying tendency to outgrow it! 7) RESPITE CARE. Kennels, cateries... ever heard of tortoiseries? - and strangely it takes a special kind of friend to look after them for you if you go away - a lot of people are a bit uncomfortable around even the least threatening of reptiles. and I'm sure there are more things if only I could remember them.... If you've already been considering getting a tortoise then don't let this put you off, there are some excellent organisations and web sites out there, the Tortoise Trust and Slowcoach to name just a couple - run by people who've helped me more than you can imagine. Torts are wonderful pets and if treated well live happy healthy lives for a long time. If the situation ever arose again I would do the same thing as I can't imagine ever not having Mo around to eat my toes (well maybe at times.....), but I would make sure that I found out what I was letting myself in for first!

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